Summary: There’s nothing like prayer to empower us against temptation. Look at the prime example!
Our memory verse this week is Colossians 4:2. You’ll find it each week on the back of your bulletin entitled: Words to Live By.
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.
Can you say that with me? “Continue earnestly in prayer… being vigilant in it with thanksgiving… Colossians 4:2”
Regarding this verse, I’ve just started practicing something for about a week and a half now that is a blessing for me and I would like to pass it on as a suggestion for others. If any of you have one of those watches that can be set to beep every hour, this is a great idea that I got from someone else. Set it to beep on the hour, and every time you hear it go off say a prayer. This is a great reminder! If you’re like me, there’s a big list of people that you want to continue to pray for. This helps a lot. Some I pray for every time I hear the beep and others I spread throughout the day. Try it! It will help you to obey God’s command here in Colossians 4:2 that the NKJ says rather literally…
“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.”
This verse says what Jesus tells the disciples to do twice as we see it here in our text today. Luke 22:40 and 46. We ought to mark those verses in our Bibles and remember them.
Pray… why? There are a lot of reasons to pray, but Jesus gives us one particular reason that all of us need to apply… “So that you will not fall into temptation!” In other words, there is great protection for the person who patiently, persistently prays. You really don’t want to miss this blessing for your life! God gives strength and armor for the prayer warriors of his kingdom. Jesus himself is our best example.
The setting we enter at this point in Luke’s gospel is one of the deepest and most difficult hours of Jesus life. Knowing what is before him, Jesus does the one thing that every one of us needs to learn to do. He goes to the Father and pours out his heart.
Notice how this all occurs. Luke tells us the setting that leads up this lesson on prayer.
Pay attention first to the disciples. Jesus has just shared this Passover meal with them. In this meal Jesus reveals that there is a betrayer among them. He has to instruct them in their need to serve one another and to quit arguing about which of them is the greatest. He encourages them and promises kingdom positions for each of them. Then he warns them about the terrible trials that are before them and how Satan has asked for them to sift them as wheat. Will they survive? Jesus speaks directly to Peter and tells him he has prayed for him, that his faith may not fail. The disciples see the struggles but are oblivious to what lies before them. It has been a long day. This is Passover evening. It’s getting late. They are emotionally drained. Jesus seems so intense! He keeps saying things that sound like the end of the world is upon us! He has washed their feet, and embarrassed them, then he blew them away by breaking the Passover tradition calling the bread his body and he cup the new covenant in his blood! And this announcement that one of us will betray him! How much more can we take in one evening! Judas he seems to send off on an errand telling him to do it quickly… but there was something in his eyes when he said that! What was it??? Who knows? Their minds must have been spinning as Jesus led them out again to the Mount of Olives. But instead of finding a place to sleep like last night, he wants us to stay up and pray. But just look at him. Jesus has never been like this before. He is always in control. They’ve seen him sad, mad, glad, and a host of other things, but tonight Jesus is more intense and emotional than he has ever been before. I think at least some of the disciples were afraid. They’ve been afraid before, but this is different. Somehow this is off the charts. Jesus calls them to pray with him. He takes Peter, James and John on a little farther and opens his heart to them.